Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia;
a bit of content added at the end.
I am personally not opposed to ethical pornography, just as I am not opposed to women choosing to be sex workers (though the legalization of sex work is a hot button, often politicized, so I’ll stop right here on that).
Ethical pornography, for those wondering, is made by people who a) want to be there*, and b) are of legal age to sign contracts to that effect.
I became aware, a couple of weeks ago, of a scandal in Australia, wherein young boys–and I mean boys, as young as 13/14– mostly from expensive private schools, share pornography through online forums created and maintained exclusively for this purpose.
Which, despite the young age of the users, I would still be okay with, if–and this is a big if–the people whose images are being shared had consented to this.
Instead, it turns out, these boys are literally hunting naked images of school girls–in many cases, classmates!!!–to share with other boys across the country. And, as packs always do, the boys, and occasional young adult man, encourage each other to greater depths of immoral behaviour, by rewarding each other for ‘wins’ (aka, specific images of specific girls, targeted often at the request of someone who knows that girl).
Should be, yes.
But the responses, by police (‘well, the servers are not in the country, so we cannot shut these forums down, and girls should be more careful anyway’), and by the overwhelmingly male school administrators (‘well, these girls should be having sex, and if they were more careful/demure/modest/good, then they would be safe’) are, sadly, what women all around the world have come to expect.
“Instead of laying blame directly where it falls — with the perpetrators — it seems her school decided the best line of defence was to haul the girls into a meeting and not just police their appearance, but thoroughly insult and denigrate them,” she wrote in an open letter on Facebook to Victoria’s Kambrya College that has been shared nearly 4000 times and attracted hundreds of comments.
Ms Manning said her daughter reported she and her friends had been told to “check the length of their skirts” in order to “protect their integrity.”
Yes, really. It’s 2016, and yet the response to this type of violation, just as with physical rape, is to tell women to cover themselves, to be careful, to take precautions, and so on and so forth–lest men be tempted beyond acceptable behaviour.
When are men going to be considered sufficiently strong and mature and ethical to hold themselves to the standards they demand of women? Isn’t it insulting to say that, unless girls and women behave within these limited parameters, boys and men are out of control beasts who cannot be held responsible for their animal lust?
When will fathers buck up, and demand that their sons respect all women as they should respect their own mothers and sisters and wives and daughters?
As for fathers, “What role do they play in all this?” I asked sociologist Dr Michael Flood, associate professor at the University of Wollongong, this week. He chuckled. “That’s a good question.” Men have a critical role to play in teaching their sons to respect women, “but they just feel less fluent about these matters, probably because they’re more sympathetic to pornography, so there’s a degree of complicity or shame there.”
The shame might also stem from fathers’ own transgressions as young men. While the tools of humiliation – images on the internet – are new, the themes, Flood notes, are well-worn. Male bonding and status-seeking via the sexual exploitation of women, the hostile and derogatory remarks and the double standard that positions the “slut” as an object of both derision and desire producing an “ambivalent misogyny”.
Consent is not just a word–it should be a guiding principle in all relationships between individuals.
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Meanwhile, in France, historically a bastion of liberty, we have armed police forcing women to remove layers of clothing.
I also encourage my readers to follow this link to another The Guardian piece on the criminalization of clothing–“France is tearing itself apart over a swimsuit but it’s not the first time an item of clothing has caused a political storm. What we wear has always hidden deeper fears about sex, race and class.”
* I imagine some people wonder why anyone, particularly a woman, would want to make porn. I suggest reading Maggie McNeill’s blog. Also, accept that there are women who are exhibitionists, and whose enjoyment of sex and life is enhanced by it–as proven by the extreme abundance of free, amateur porn, by and for women, online.